A small drop in a big ocean

If you look to just the right of this post you will see a KIVA logo. Many customers and blog friends have asked me about this organisation and why I have chosen to donate monthly profits to them.

OK, so here is how it started. When I read the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker (you can read it a few posts below), this organisation was mentioned. So I went to the site and researched whether it was where I wanted my money to go-and it certainly was, without a doubt .

Kiva is a non-profit-organisation with a mission to connect people through “lending” as a means to alleviate poverty. They provide safe and affordable access to capital for budding entrepreneurs in Third World countries, to help those people create a better lives for themselves and their families.

The loans are repaid over time and then the money is re-loaned to other business owners in need. As I am very against the “state benefit/hand-out culture” we seem to have created in many places (definitely in the UK and Spain!) where people feel they have a “right” to just hold their hands out and get all their financial needs met by the State, I found this organisation so inspiring.

In the past my monthly donations have gone to help someone in Peru buy a donkey, so that he can carry his wares to sell at the local market. Another recipient was a woman in Ghana who needed a loan to help her run her food stall. At the beginning I tried to focus on women entrepreneurs that needed help. But as my husband pointed out, anyone in a Third World country who is doing their best to better themselves, should be admired and helped.

Don’t get me wrong, I benefit just as much from this relationship. How?
Well when I give anonymously, knowing that my pennies will be going to help someone across the other side of the world to me; whose business progress I can follow (albeit if it is someone with 1 donkey and a cart-load of vegetables), but who will never know about me, it is SO rewarding. Secondly, this has really helped me change my mind-set of lack and scarcity which I grew up around as a child (despite my parents being very well-off!) My mothers fears of it “all disappearing” seeped into my consciousness, and subsequently I lived with this mindset for the best part of 35 years. As anyone knows this kind of mind-set is self-perpetuating. However, now, by giving every month I know my mind-set has changed, and again it is self-fulfilling. So you see, I benefit tremendously also.

This month, this is my recipient

Her name is Isabel from Peru, and she has requested a loan to help her buy supplies for her very small restaurant/eating establishment.

I would love to hear your views. Perhaps you don’t believe in organisations such as this. Perhaps you feel more charity should be done nearer home, in our own countries (I have friends who believe this).Or perhaps you feel small, personal donations are NOT going to eradicate poverty whilst we have so many dictatorial or corrupt governments, so it’s just a pointless drop in the ocean. I would really like to hear your perspective.


  1. This is so fabulous on so many levels!! I agree it is better to give a helping hand than a "hand out" ~ which over time becomes a mind set of "given right" and the development of the mind set to put one's hand out and it shall be filled. In my humble opinion in North America - the land of plenty ... many have developed the It's my right attitude, to be supported by the government. So, intead of giving these people a chance to better themselves.. society is actually hendering them ... from getting out there and working andin turn creating a future for themselves and their children. = they lose their self pride (the thing that many people say - that by imposing stricter regulations on receiving governement subsidies will affect) .... where as these people in third world countries are being given a helping hand - they are ultimately responsible for their survival, which encourages them to work harder and take care of themselves and their families!

    It is great what you are doing! Thanks for bring this group to my attention..a nd giving me something to think about.

    Wishing you a beautiful week-end!! xo HHL

  2. Hi HHL
    I can always rely on you to add wonderfully constructive comments to any post. Like you, I abhor the "you owe me a living" mentality which is definitely rife in the UK and in Spain.It's all about "teaching" a man to fish not "giving" him the fish. So pleased you found the post interesting, and as always your comments are so welcomed.

  3. Thanks to your previous post Vanessa I am reading 29 Gifts right now and really enjoying it. I give to animal charities, and like you with overseas versus own-country donations, find some folk think 'people should come before animals'. But it's my money and I think 'people' didn't do right by them in the first place.

    Kiva sounds like a wonderful organisation and it's fabulous that you get to know a little bit about the loan recipients. There's a big handout culture here in New Zealand too, and we also have ongoing treaty settlements which is an industry for a small group of people.

  4. Hi Fiona
    So pleased to hear you are reading 29 Gifts and also enjoying it. It seems to be that the hand-out culture exists everywhere (apart from perhaps Japan?) Here in Spain, Government subsidies really are a business for some people who claim subsidies for an agricultural business they haven't had for decades; it really makes me mad, especially as Spain has one of the biggest debts in Europe and will probably ask for a bail-out shortly! This is why I so admire the recipients of Kiva. Good for you Fiona supporting animal charities too.

  5. So lovely Vanessa, you are a very special person.

  6. I don't think I have known anyone as thoughtful and giving as you are. I mean that sincerely. Your concern for others and generosity is so admirable.

    I've often thought of doing a Kiva loan. I think it would be a great thing to do with my stepdaughter. You have given me food for thought. I will discuss it with her this week.
    xo, A

  7. How wonderful. There isn't much more in life that makes us feel as whole and happy as giving to someone else, either of our time or monetarily. I've never given anonymously but I can see how this would be even more rewarding! xo

  8. Vanessa - I love, love, love Cami's book. I am so glad you mentioned Kiva because I am sharing it with my Faith Formation Class! There are 13 of us in class and we equated our small amounts we each had to share with the "bundle of sticks" theory. One stick by itself if easily broken; many sticks in a bundle can be indestructible. When we pool our small sticks together we can make an indestructible bundle to share with others. And how great it feels! I am so pleased they are as excited as I am!

    And it is all thanks to you and your tremendous generosity! THANK YOU!

  9. Thank you so much friends for your lovely comments. I promise I didn't write this post to receive "passive compliments", I was genuinely interested in your views.
    @Tabitha-I can be a real devil also ;-)
    @Adrienne- you are too sweet, but honestly when I see what other people do for others, what I do is a mere "drop in the ocean" (but it's my drop). It would be great to discuss this with your stepdaughter. The loans are very small, so just putting $1 a day away, will allow you to give a loan to someone every month.
    @Sandy-I don't think it matters if you give anonymously or not, or whether you even give anything, but just being conscious that there are others not far from us without the basics, is enough. Good on you for whatever you do Sandy.
    @Beth-so pleased you are enjoying the book Beth; I meant to ask you. It really does give you food for thought. I LOVE your analogy of the sticks too-brilliant reminder.

  10. Sweetheart this is so wonderful! You're such a giving person. It's really so moving and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing with us and I look forward to reading 29 Gifts. I've been meaning to since you mentioned it :) xoxo


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